Term of office
Article 56 of the Indian Constitution says that the President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date he takes up his post. He may resign from his office by writing his resignation to the Vice-President of India. But, he will continue to hold his office, in spite of tendering his resignation, until his successor takes up his office. And, before his office gets vacated, an election should be held for the same.
Article 61 provides for the manner in which he can be impeached on the violation of the Constitution. The Vice-President acts as his substitute in case his office falls vacant on the grounds of his death, resignation or impeachment or otherwise. Such a vacancy should be filled by an election necessarily taking place within six months of his office falling vacant.
Impeachment of the President
Impeachment is the process to remove the President of India from his office before his term expires.
It can be carried out if the Constitution of India is violated by the President and the proceedings can be initiated in either of the two houses of the Parliament.
Two-thirds majority is required to pass the resolution in the House. Thereafter, a notice signed by a quarter of the members of the House and containing the charges is sent to the President. After 14 days the charges are taken into consideration by the other House and in the meantime the President can defend himself. If the charges are approved by the second House also then the President is said to have been impeached. He has to leave his office.
Vacancy in the President’s Office
A vacancy in the President’s office can occur in any of the following ways:
- On the expiry of his tenure of five years.
- By his resignation.
- On his removal by the process of impeachment.
- By his death
- Otherwise, for example, when he becomes disqualified to hold office or when his election is declared void.
An election to fill a vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of President shall be completed before the expiration of the term.
An election to fill a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise shall be held as soon as possible after, and in no case later than six months from, the date of occurrence of the vacancy; and the person elected to fill the vacancy shall, subject to the provisions of article 56, be entitled to hold office for the full term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
In case of office falling vacant due to death, resignation or removal, the Vice-President act as President. It he is not available then Chief Justice, it not then senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court shall act as the President of India. The election is to be held within 6 months of the vacancy.
The Vice-President acts as President, during casual vacancy in the office of the President by reason of death, resignation or removal or otherwise, until a new President is elected as soon as practicable and, in no case, later than six months from the date of occurrence of the vacancy.
When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President discharges those functions till the President resumes office. During this period, the Vice-President has all the powers, immunities and privileges of the President and receives emoluments and allowances payable to the President.
When the President is unable to discharge his functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the Vice-President shall discharge his functions until the date on which the President resumes his duties.
The Vice-President shall, during, and in respect of, the period while he is so acting as, or discharging the functions of, President have all the powers and immunities of the President and be entitled to such emoluments, allowances and privileges as may be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that behalf is so made, such emoluments, allowances and privileges as are specified in the Second Schedule.
Election of President before expiration term
There is no satisfactory relief given in the conduction of Presidential Election. The suggestion is that, the Presidential Election must be held before the expiration of his term of office. The Election Commission shall issue the notification on or as soon as conveniently may be, after the sixtieth day before the expiration of the term of office of the out-going President or Vice-President, as the case may be. The election of the President must be completed within the time fixed by Article 62(1). Thus, the time limit is mandatory.